It might be odd-looking to some but Gen Zs are totally comfortable calling out to the open air and expecting an inanimate object to hear and respond to them.
They’ll be scrolling on their phone, tapping their wireless earphones while asking a question to their voice assistant. That’s the future – talking to things.
And while their debuts might’ve been sketchy, AI-based voice assistants (or virtual assistants) have made leaps and bounds in the last decade and are now found on our phones, laptops, TVs, speakers and more. And the generation who grew up online are embracing them.
Our What Gen Z Actually Do Online report has found that 65% of Gen Zs use voice assistants regularly, with Apple Siri being the clear favourite used by 53% of Gen Zs, followed by Google Assistant (25%), Amazon Alexa (5%), Microsoft Cortana (4%) and Samsung Bixby (2%).
How Gen Z use voice assistants
Voice assistants don’t just help Gen Zs to do things easier and faster, like hands-free calling and texting, checking the calendar, finding a music playlist, and controlling home electronics, increasingly they’re used for entertainment (“Hey Siri, can you beatbox?”) and as a knowledge hub (“Hey Siri, what is finger lime?”).
If you’re creeped out by the increasing humanness of voice assistants, conversation writer Scott Ganz argued that designing them to sound more emotionally intelligent teaches young people to talk to one another with respect, kindness and empathy, instead of wiring them to talk to others as if they’re servants. Positive, meaningful interactions can be made here.
Voice: the future of marketing to Gen Z
With over half of Gen Z using voice assistants already, businesses should look into how voice can elevate their marketing. If that’s not enough to get businesses noticing – by 2023, it’s predicted that 8 billion voice assistants will be in use and that voice commerce will hit $80 billion (USD).
Big brands have been jumping on board, like Reebok giving away Swarovski sneakers (Amazon Alexa, Google Home), Johnnie Walker educating customers about whiskey (Amazon Alexa) and Zyrtec letting people check daily pollen levels (Google Assistant).
Heck, brands themselves are even creating their own virtual assistants. Exhibit A: BBC’s Beeb.
As Tech Giants compete to be the best, expect voice assistants to offer better performance, as well as more personalised communication, shopping experiences, app integrations and business partnerships.
Voice technology will absolutely change the way brands tell stories.